The Merchant of Venice

The Merchant of Venice

In a city steeped in the ills of antisemitism, racism, misogyny, and homophobia, Shakespeare’s incendiary play exposes the fissures between fairness, accountability, and justice—and who profits from them. Tony Award nominee John Douglas Thompson (Jitney, Mare of Easttown), “one of the most compelling classical stage actors of his generation” (The New York Times), makes his STC debut as the enigmatic Shylock in this searing portrayal of society’s prejudices and the elusive nature of mercy.

All titles, artists, and dates subject to change.


[John Douglas Thompson is] perhaps the greatest Shakespeare interpreter in contemporary America…a virtuoso of psychological insight and emotional specificity…he takes what’s timeless and transmutes it to the present. To watch him work is to feel fluttery, lightheaded. Blessed, maybe.” –The New York Times

John Douglas Thompson offers a RIVETING portrayal of Shylock…in a moving performance bristling with righteous indignation…Director Arin Arbus lets us see all the ugliest implications of The Merchant of Venice in the fascinating production she has staged.” –The Washington Post

★★★★[John Douglas] Thompson makes Shylock at once formidable and vulnerable.” –TimeOut New York

VITAL and INVIGORATING…This production of The Merchant of Venice couldn’t be timelier.” –TheaterMania

UNMISSABLE…Powerfully resonant for the here and now.” –BroadwayWorld

BRILLIANT and BREATHTAKINGLY ALIVE…A richly illuminating production for our time.” –DC Metro Theater Arts

“★★★★…The entire production asserts a keenly observed case for treating all people equally, regardless of religion, race, gender, or sexuality.” –Metro Weekly

POWERFUL…Even those familiar with this iconic play will have moments of shock… and awe.” –K Street Magazine

WONDERFUL…Do not miss this production of The Merchant of Venice at the Shakespeare Theatre; you will regret it if you do.”–The Georgetown Dish

“See it for the inspirational performance by John Douglas Thompson. YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” –MD Theatre Guide

A MAGISTERIAL PERFORMANCE by John Douglas Thompson…[Director Arin] Arbus has worked with her cast to create indelible portraits.” –Talkin’ Broadway

“★★★★…American antisemitism is on the rise and racism remains egregiously unabated. [Director Arin] Arbus deals BRILLIANTLY with both.” –New York Stage Review

“Arin Arbus’ EXCITING modern dress revival with John Douglas Thompson as Shylock could not be more relevant for today’s times.” –Theater Scene

Health and Safety

For the run of The Merchant of Venice, STC will require that all patrons provide proof of vaccination to attend any performances or events. In addition to audiences, STC has mandated COVID-19 vaccinations for all performers and theatre staff. Please visit our Health and Safety page for full guidelines about providing proof of vaccination at the theatre.

Only performers and people invited onstage for talkbacks will be unmasked. We ask that attendees remain masked while within our venues, including during performances, unless they are eating and drinking in designated lobby areas. STC is committed to the safety and wellbeing of everyone in our spaces, and we are monitoring the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and will make adjustments as needed. Thank you for your understanding.